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Recite in the name of the Lord who created,—
Created Man from nought but congealed blood ;—
Recite ! for thy Lord is beneficent.
It is He who hath taught (to write) with the pen;—
Hath taught man that which he knoweth not."1 . . .
The Assumption of the Prophetical Office, A.D. 613-614.
—In A.D. 613-614, the forty-fourth year of his life, we
find Mohamed proclaiming himself a divinely inspired
Prophet, sent by God to the people of Arabia. His
followers, though very few, were both honest and devoted.
Among them were Khadija, his wife, Zayd, his adopted \
son, and Ali, son of AbuTalib, his cousin. Of far greater!
weight was the adherence of Abu Bekr, a member of the
Kureish, a man of substance, and of the highest personal
character. Other converts included Sad, Othman, and
Abdur Rahman, who himself brought four more con-
verts. Thus slowly during the three or four years which
followed the assumption of the prophetic office somejorty
followers, all of them loyal to the core, threw in their
lot with Mohamed.
The behaviour of his fellow-citizens was such as might
have been expected. At first, having known Mohamed
from boyhood, they treated his claims with contempt, and
regarded him as a harmless visionary ; but gradually,
owing to their connexion with the Kaaba, these feelings
changed into open hostility, which showed itself in perse-
cution. This drew all the more attention to the doctrines
expounded by the Prophet, who was himself protected by
Abu Talib. Others, however, who had no protectors
were imprisoned or exposed to the glare of the sun or
ill-treated in other ways.
The Temporary Emigration to Abyssinia^ A.D. 615.—
So hot did the persecution become and so black the out-
look that Mohamed recommended his followers to seek a
temporary asylum in Christian Abyssinia, and in A.D. 615
a party of eleven men fled to the port of Shuayba, near
Jeddah, and thence reached Africa in safety.
The historical interview with the Negus is recorded
1 This, the ninety-sixth sura or chapter, was the starting-point of Islam, and
Mohamed himself used to refer to it as his first inspired utterance.